A few weeks ago Sarah of Destination Cycle in Kerrville was telling me about the new waterproof, foldable Hill Country map they put together and are now selling. Sounded like a good excuse for a ride, and last Wednesday I was able to do just that.
Left Austin at 6:30 a.m. to miss the rush-hour traffic. Had a butt-pucker episode close to Dripping Springs, where I was suddenly and unexpectedly enveloped by scary-thick fog, but Lizzie safely pulled through. Yikes!
Stopped at the Hill Country Cupboard in Johnson City for a migas breakfast. I always like this restaurant because my priorities are small-town atmosphere, friendly waitresses, and not having to wait a long time to be served. Truthfully, though, if you’re a foodie, you’ll most likely want to go somewhere else.
Next stop was one of my favorite local destinations, the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. In fact, whenever I want a short 150-mile ride on back roads, this is where I usually go. The 6.5-mile park road runs alongside the Pedernales River (Texan pronunciation Per-den-al-es) and it looks a little different each time I see it, depending on the season. This week the grass was green with only the toughest hot-weather wildflowers scattered about: coreopsis, a few buttercups, Mexican hats, purple thistles. You can usually spot a small herd of about 20 buffalo along the road, and I like to stop to see them whenever I can. Walked up in time to watch a rambunctious young calf being taught a lesson in boundaries by a grouchy adult, which made me laugh out loud. This next picture was taken with my cell phone so couldn’t zoom in on them.
Turn up the volume on this 30-second clip which looks out towards the Pedernales River and LBJ Ranch. It shows you one of the reasons why I visit here so often. Peaceful and relaxing, huh? Background music is provided by our very own Texas State Bird, the mockingbird, aka American nightingale. By the way, the mockingbird is the state bird because it’s “a fighter for the protection of his home, falling if need be, in its defense, like any true Texan.”
Arrived at Destination Cycle in Kerrville to find a gathering of The Lost Boys, a group of entertaining characters that meet every Wednesday morning. It’s always best to wear tall boots when you walk in on one of their discussions, if you know what I mean. Better yet, with these guys, waders are in order! I’m just sayin’. . . .
Don’t be fooled by their appearance, though, because these guys are the real deal. Most of them have done and continue to do Iron Butt SaddleSores and BunBurners. In fact, the senior member, 84-year-old Leroy, who still pilots a plane, wasn’t there because he’s riding the Four Corners – which means the four corners of the United States! Leroy raced cars back in the late forties and fifties and was A. J. Foyt’s mentor. Not a tall tale. I’ve seen the original photos and newspaper clippings that prove it! I could go on and on about these amazing men.
Managed to tear myself away from the storytelling to check out the new map, which is great! It lays out the five best rides in the Hill Country and every other road you’ll want to know. By the way, The Lost Boys had a lot to do with compiling these rides. Sightseeing four-wheeled cagers and bicycle riders will also find it invaluable. It already holds a permanent place in the saddlebag.
Stayed on the back roads for most the ride home, and here is a real quick look at the road between Kerrville and Comfort. Just so you’ll know, the video quality went way down when it was loaded onto YouTube, and I’m in the process of finding out why. Auntie Biketrash will get her nephew, a videographer in Seattle, to work on it!
Maybe you need a map quest of your own? Check it out at the Hill Country Headquarters, Destination Cycle. Besides, the peach stands between Stonewall and Fredericksburg are all open right now! Mmmmmmm. . . .
Peace on the Road!
P.S. NPT Wrap-Up is hot off the press! You’ll find it in the right sidebar.